Gang Violence Thesis

I had mistakenly tried to “save” young men and women trapped in gang life.But then, in an instant, I learned that saving lives is for the Coast Guard.

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Everything belongs, and, as the homies say, “It’s all good.” I do believe in lessons learned.

I have learned that you work with gang members and not with gangs, otherwise you enforce the cohesion of gangs and supply them oxygen.

He was there one month when his younger brother Erick did something gang members never do. Gang members are much more inclined to walk into enemy turf and hope to die than to pull the trigger themselves. “I like how recovery feels.” and once in the car, he launches in. Louie tells me that he knows that only he can turn the light switch on.

“I had a dream last night—and you were in it.” In the dream, he tells me, the two of us are in a darkened room. He expresses his gratitude that I happen to have a flashlight.

This past summer, however, a 32-year-old academic named David Skarbek published The Social Order of the Underworld, his first book, which is the best attempt in a long while to explain the intricate organizational systems that make the gangs so formidable.

His focus is the California prison system, which houses the second-largest inmate population in the country—about 135,600 people, slightly more than the population of Bellevue, Washington, split into facilities of a few thousand inmates apiece.

It is not “about something.” It is the language of the despondent and traumatized.

In my 30 years of ministry to gang members in Los Angeles, the most significant reversal of course for me happened somewhere during my sixth year.

At first, we seem to be watching a sullen but semi-random parade of terrifying men—heavily tattooed murderers, thieves, and drug dealers walking past one of five casual but alert guards.

Some inmates, chosen for a strip search, drop their prison blues into little piles and then spin around, bare-assed, to be scrutinized.


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